FAQs 2017-06-28T09:35:43-04:00

Frequently Asked Questions

We take the production of milk seriously; after all it is our livelihood. We need both transparency and a better understanding of production practices. This information needs to be based on facts. I have heard it said that “people vote their emotions”. Animal welfare and food production practices are often accompanied by strong personal opinions and yes, emotion. We encourage you to take a few moments to explore the links we have provided. This is some of the very best, fact based information regarding the standard production practices we adhere to.

We welcome your questions and dialogue about this important subject.

The Udder Truth

Dairy Good

Over the past decades and centuries, as farmers learned to make more food with fewer resources, most of us have shifted from living on farms or in rural settings to cities. While the nation’s industrial revolution and technological advances helped grow our country and citizens gained work and expertise in other professions, it also meant that most of us became further and further removed from farming.

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So, it’s only natural for us to wonder where our food comes from and how it was produced. Terms like “pasteurization” may be unfamiliar to some, and even a few who question its purpose. From the cow to your cup, the U.S. dairy industry follows many strict government regulations, including pasteurization, to ensure that milk is safe to drink.

But, how did we get there and what does pasteurization mean? Find out below.

When was pasteurization invented?

About 150 years ago, Louis Pasteur developed the pasteurization process while he was tasked with finding practical solutions for problems such as keeping harmful bacteria at bay in different foods.

A few decades after he first came up with the process, a New Jersey milk plant installed the first pasteurizer in the United States. Since that time and through today, with the exception of milk that’s marketed as “raw” (milk that has not been pasteurized) milk, all milk in the United States has been pasteurized. This process is one of the many ways the U.S. dairy industry helps ensure that our milk is safe.

What does the process entail?

In most milk processing plants, chilled raw milk is heated by passing it between heated stainless steel plates until it reaches 161° F. It’s then held at that temperature for at least 15 seconds before it’s quickly cooled back to its original temperature of 39° F.

Here’s the “cool” part: One way the dairy industry saves energy involves using the heat of the heated pasteurized milk to warm the next batch of cold raw milk. Cold milk is then used to cool the heated pasteurized milk. By doing this, the industry uses heating and refrigeration energy more efficiently.

Why is it necessary?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), raw milk can harbor dangerous bacteria that can pose serious health risks to you and your family. The pasteurization process kills those bacteria.

Does pasteurization change milk?

No. According to the CDC, pasteurization does not significantly change the nutritional value of milk. In fact, you can get all of the nutritional benefits of drinking pasteurized milk without the risk of illness that comes with drinking raw milk.

When it comes to milk’s nutrients, all of milk’s minerals stay the same, but there is one small change when it comes to the vitamins. Raw milk contains a miniscule amount (

In addition, according to the CDC, if you’re thinking about drinking raw milk because you believe it’s a good source of beneficial bacteria like probiotics, you need to know that it isn’t. It could be harmful and make you sick. If you’re looking to enjoy a food or beverage with probiotics, experts such as registered dietitians suggest purchasing one that’s actually labelled for containing probiotics – rather than taking your chances.

At the end of the day, you can feel confident knowing that your milk is not only good for you, but safe, too. Those throughout the dairy industry, from the farm to your grocery store, know how important those qualities are and work to make sure your family enjoys the best milk possible.

For more answers to your raw milk questions, visit the CDC’s website or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s site. And don’t forget to do your part, too, by checking out these simple tips to keep your milk as fresh and safe as possible!

Source: dairygood.org

Milk comes from a cow – but how does it end up at your local store?

Here’s an insider’s look into the process. In the two days (on average) it takes for milk to travel from the farm to your local dairy case, it goes through several steps to ensure its freshness and purity. In fact, those steps make milk among the most regulated foods you can buy at the store.

It begins on the dairy where farmers and their team take good care of their cows. This means ensuring cows have the right amount of nutritious food, plenty of fresh, clean water, and comfortable bedding and housing. These factors help keep cows healthy. Farmers also keep their cows comfortable all year long by providingwater misters and fans in the summer and curtains in the winter to protect animals from the wind and snow.

When it’s time to be milked, the cows enter the milking parlor. While there are different styles of milking parlors, farmers use best practices to ensure the safety of your milk. One way they do that is by using mechanical milkers. This technology, which has been in place on most U.S. farms since the 1920s, are more sanitary and comfortable for the animal than milking by hand. Regardless of the farmer parlor style, human hands don’t touch the milk.

As the milk is collected, it’s the same temperature as a cow’s body: About 100 degrees. The milk then travels to a tank where it is quickly cooled to 45 degrees or less to ensure quality and safety.

Insulated milk trucks visit dairy farms on a regular basis (including several times throughout the day, every day, depending on the size of the farm) to pick up the milk and take it to a processing plant. There, milk is further tested for quality and safety.  

At the processing plant, the milk goes through several steps, including:

Standardization: Milk goes through a process called standardization, which separates skimmed milk from the cream. Once the two are separated, they can then be rejoined with different fat percentage levels.

Pasteurization: after standardization, the milk is quickly heated, which kills any potential disease-causing bacteria that may have been in the unpasteurized milk.

Homogenization: Finally, milk is homogenized: the fat in the milk is broken into smaller particles so it doesn’t separate and rise to the top.

Additionally, milk may be fortified with vitamins A and D to make it more nutritious.

At this point, the milk is bottled before heading to the store!

Source: dairygood.org

National Dairy FARM

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